By: Saaron Ramirez
Working at an Old Navy store allowed me to see the negative effects media has on young girls. As I collected clothes from fitting rooms, I saw an eight year old girl stand in front of a mirror. She was disturbed by her reflection, a reflection that only she could see.
Awareness of body image and self-esteem have become a customary issue in today’s culture. As adolescents are growing up, they are being influenced by the media, a media which promotes body image as being “slim” and “beautiful. Approximately 91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. Moreover, in a survey, more than 30 percent of women agreed they would consider cosmetic surgery in the future. So why are females pressured to obtain a specific body image?
Mattel Barbie dolls are a pop-cultural trend that has influenced generations of young girls throughout the world because they are one of the first toys a young girl is given. Although Barbie serves primarily as a toy for young girls, she has become an artifact of female representation. Barbie, is a good toy for the imagination of young girls but she can be mistaken as a false image of trying to reach the “perfect” look. Young girls begin to think that they have to look like her. Barbie has become the definition of beauty. However, we are not manufactured and we have genes that dictate our features. We are genetically predisposed to our physical traits and will only be able to remove them with cosmetic surgery.
Most of the danger does not come from Barbies that young girls play with but also the millions of advertisements that bombard us every second of our lives. Advertisements are everywhere. Propaganda creates fears that can be overcome by buying the product. Therefore people go out and buy the product in hope of reaching perfection. Females fall into the trap of what is the new trend and what is not. We are exposed to about five thousand messages a day.
We have become blinded by vanity and a fascination to be one of those “beautiful” people. These advertisements are altering the reality of body image and misleading girls in making them believe that beauty is based on physical appearance. How far will females go to achieve perfection? Thus reaching perfection means decreasing the size of your body to fit into the ideal body image. Is size zero a need or a fascination? No, size zero is not even attainable. Females just need to have the mentality to not be negatively influenced by the media. Then the media will be viewed for what it truly is which is to provide entertainment or convey information. In doing this, there will be a process of differentiating fiction to reality.